A heady mix of political drama and romance -- both gay and straight -- won major Golden Globe Awards on Monday with Brokeback Mountain earning the best film drama prize and Walk the Line best musical or comedy.
Brokeback, which has wowed critics and found a sizable audience with its homosexual love story, walked off with four Golden Globes, more than any movie, including best director for Ang Lee (李安), screenplay and song.
The movie entered the show a favorite among its rivals after being nominated in a leading seven categories, and it now becomes a clear front-runner for the Oscars that will be given out in March.
But Walk the Line, about the long love affair between singers Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, may be a close second. It earned three Golden Globes and won trophies for stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as best actor and actress in musical or comedy respectively.
Felicity Huffman was named best actress in a film drama playing a man on the verge of a sex change in Transamerica, and Philip Seymour Hoffman was named best film actor in a movie drama for his role as author Truman Capote in Capote.
The awards capped a night in which gay movies and characters dominated the winners circle, and the movies' makers and actors urged audiences to see beyond the gay stories and into deeper themes of love, family ties and fearmongering.
The fact Brokeback Mountain had found eager audiences across the country, including the conservative heartland, shows that Americans are willing to embrace stories of love in all forms, Lee said.
"You can never categorize or stereotype a region or a place. People fall in love, period," Lee said backstage. "This is a universal story ... I just wanted to make a love story."
But politics played a major role at the Golden Globes, too, especially early in the evening when George Clooney was named best supporting actor in a film playing a veteran CIA agent in the Middle East oil drama Syriana.
"These are tough questions to ask, and I'm very proud that the studios are willing to ask these questions," he said about Syriana's take on the Middle East and the politics of oil.
British actress Rachel Weisz was named best supporting actress in a film drama for her portrayal of a social activist in Africa in thriller The Constant Gardener.
Palestinian film Paradise Now, which looks at why suicide bombers take their own lives and kill others, was named best foreign language film. Its director, Hany Abu-Assad, called the award "a recognition that the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality unconditionally."
Golden Globe winners are chosen annually by about 85 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Golden Globes are also given out for television, and in that arena, the ABC network swept the top categories, with its hit show Lost earning best drama series and another of its top-rated programs, Desperate Housewives, taking the prize for best comedy.
Among TV winners, Geena Davis was named best actress in a drama series for playing the first female US president in Commander In Chief.
British actor Hugh Laurie won the award for best actor in a TV drama playing a hard-edged doctor in medical drama House.
Steve Carell was named best actor in a TV comedy playing an insensitive boss in The Office, and in a surprise, Mary-Louise Parker took home the Golden Globe award for her role as a pot-selling suburban mom in cable TV program Weeds.